Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gardening Book Round Up for Young Kids

I'm blessed my kid loves to read.  My favorite part of seeing her love of reading is how she soaks in the information and relays it later on.  I've seen this happen with our gardening.  Simply watching and helping dig in the dirt, water and harvest for a 2 year old doesn't always mean much.  But when we began reading books that explained different vegetables, how they grow, why we garden, I slowly saw it click for her.

Here are my current top 10 children books about gardening that have helped my kiddo get excited about her veggies.

1.  Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayers.  This book hands down is our favorite.  It's simple for young kids to follow and it was the book that helped connect all the different vegetables in the garden for Iz.  When she watched me pull beets and cut cabbage this year she yelled "Beets go down and Cabbage goes up!"  My hippie heart was overjoyed as she then ran through the garden telling me each vegetable and their directional growth.

2.  My First Garden by Wendy Lewison.  This cute board book explains the whole process start to finish with gardening. It's shaped like a basket and Iz likes to carry it that way and explain how she likes to garden with me just like the little girl and mommy in the book. 

3.  Jo MacDonald Had a Garden by Mary Quattlebaum.  I love almost any book that takes a traditional kids song and turns it into a full blown story.  If you've got a musical one at home, this is the perfect book to get your kiddo excited about gardening.  The back of the book also has a kid friendly glossary of garden plants and animals as well as some tips for parents and children to get started. 

4.  Bud by Kevin O'Malley.  Okay this book admittedly is more for parents as a reminder.  Bud the rhino in this book was born a gardener and a lover of all things dirt.  His parents however have a hard time excepting the "disorder" of it all.  Its a good reminder to chill out and join in with your kids.  Remember how much fun it was to hang out in the mud and explore all things green back in the day?

5.  Potatoes on Tuesday by Dee Lillegard.  This is a quickie book with cute raccoons harvesting vegetables for their end of the week soup.  Although I didn't think the book was a big deal, Iz seems to think it's amazing.  She has the book memorized (okay it's only 8 pages long) and loves that they're all eating vegetable stew at the end.  I guess watching clothed raccoons eat their veggies with dignity is pretty interesting...

6. Curious George Grows a Garden by H.A. Rey.  Seriously who doesn't love that curious little monkey? Actually a friend pointed out to me the other day that George doesn't have a monkey tail so that would make him an orangutan or a chimpanzee or better yet a mini man dressed up in a "monkey suit.  Well,  now I can't watch that show without being totally confused.  My kid however loves George's show & books regardless of his physical state so I'm sure your kids will too.

7. Scarebunny by Dorothy Kunhardt.  This is a cute little book that I passed down from my childhood.  Although the book condones giving up garden space to a bunny (that's never a good idea), it also shows a child taking care of his own garden and problem solving throughout the story.  I'm pretty sure Iz just likes it because the boy and bunny become friends in the end.  However, she does now chase the bunnies out of the yard scolding them (very loudly) about not eating our lettuce and carrots.  

8.  Jacks Garden by Henry Cole.  This is a classic rhyme that kids love placed in the setting of a garden. This is one of the newest books we've recently picked up and it's definitely not one we'll be bored with.  The pages are a feast for the eyes with tons of beautiful pictures, unique layouts and an array of garden vocabulary for Iz to learn. 

9.  Kids Garden, The Anytime, Anyplace Guide To Sowing & Growing Fun by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell.  This is actually more of a garden craft book.  If you're new to gardening yourself or are just looking for some more fun activities to do with your kids, this is the go to book.  It's packed with indoor and outdoor growing ideas and hands on activities to get your kids excited and intrigued by the process of growing things. 

10.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.  Okay, I get it that most kids won't be interested in sitting through the Tales of Beatrix Potter unless you have an amended version for young children.  However, did I mention I was blessed with Iz who loves to read?  It also helps when you read the stories in a ridiculous proper English accent to add a little flair...not that I do that at all when I read Ms. Potter's tales. 
Seriously though, her stories are legendary and give children a taste of what good writing is, all while surrounded by imagery of animals in a garden.

Looking for more ideas?  Try checking out your local library.  This summer our local libraries reading program is designed around "Digging In" and their promotion of gardening books is constantly changing.  This week I snagged a picture (looking like a book creeper for sure) of their tables so you can get a taste of more books out their for older kids.

*The majority of books I recommended here are for toddler & preschool age since this is the stage we are currently in.  Do you have older kids who are excited about gardening books? Please be sure to comment and share your ideas and recommendations below!



  1. Great recommendations! Of course, the Tale of Peter Rabit, that's a classic! :)

    Kristen from The Road to Domestication

  2. Love it that you encourage little ones to start to like gardening with gardening books.